Network of Terror

Prophecy part 1As technology continues to make our world smaller, it may also seem as if people’s freedoms are equally becoming more and more restricted. The internet is also being threatened as net-neutrality is becoming a hot-button issue. So what if those on the net decided to commit their own brand of justice, while they were still ahead of the police state? And what if in ways similar to the Anonymous Group, their word is spread and endorsed by countless unknowns on the net worldwide hoping for change?

Tetsuya Tsutsui’s Prophecy takes on these questions by presenting them in modern day Japan, where societal changes has driven many people to the web for their interaction and self-expression. These days with fewer and fewer people marrying or even getting into long-term relationships, the net is home to many in that country, and across the planet. And new forms of expression are rising from Japan in ways that only the internet could fully support. In Prophecy the net has created a place for vigilantism that is now streamed live on platforms like YouTube; commented on message boards like 4Chan; and shared and reblogged on network like Twitter and Facebook. There is no need for newspapers or radio anymore to spread this new form of messaging. And the four paperboys of this story are ready to tell the world their story.

Extremely timely and provocative, Prophecy is not your standard JUMP title. It is a thriller that does not rely on fantasy or fan-service, instead it turns its focus on themes and topics that are even more compelling – employment issues, class wars, immigration and internet-inspired movements.

SEARCH, POST, UPDATE, VIEW . . . . VOTE?

General Will 2.0: Rousseau, Freud, GoogleWhat if governments were elected through a system based on subliminal  desires?

What if the most sophisticated technology and analytics were used to determine what a community really wanted from their government rather than what their words and actions seemed to indicate?

In GENERAL WILL 2.0: Rousseau, Freud, Google,  prominent Japanese cultural critic Hiroki Azuma  suggests that the mechanisms for this actually happening are in place, and millions of people all over the world are already participating in the process, without knowing it.

Azuma takes as his starting point, Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s The Social Contract, which says that government must be in service to the general will of the people. Rousseau uses the term to mean a collectively held will that aims at the common good, which is different and separate from individual or group interests.

How does Freud enter into the discussion? Azuma looks at Rousseau’s premise of the general will through the lens of Freud’s concept of the unconscious, which is the notion that people are not aware of their true desires. Azuma writes, “Rousseau’s own description of the general will can be interpreted. . . as the grouping of unconscious desires rather than of conscious agreements.” He then goes on to show how the unconscious character of general will 2.0 is related to the defining features of the internet today. Without even realizing it, we’re revealing and depositing massive amounts of personal information every time we do something on the ‘net. Whether we post a blog, connect with a friend on Facebook, search on Google, send a Tweet, or watch a video on YouTube, we’re enriching a database that is, in effect, the general will.  Azuma says, “The individual statements and movements documented therein are perhaps made consciously by the users. But once the accumulated data reaches a massive scale, we can derive through analysis surprising trends and patterns that the users themselves would never be conscious of.”

So. . . if the government serves the general will, and the general will is an aggregate of the unconscious wishes of a community – unfiltered by peer pressure or fear of public censure, and aggregated by the internet —  then this coalescence of unconscious desires becomes the foundation of democratic government in the 21st century.